Nothing ever makes me happier than a warm, sunny, spring day. You know, that perfect day with puffy cotton-like clouds, birds chirping and smell of flowers in the air. Days seem to be of that kind in Kathmandu lately. Winter is definitely gone. Somehow we managed to go literally from boots and coats to tank tops and flip flops. From 1 degree Celsius to 31. I’m not complaining. My phase of “permanently frozen” is over and I don’t mind a bit of sweat on my forehead instead. Warm weather in Nepal screams for one and only question: What to wear? As in many (most?) other Asian (Eastern) countries, modest clothing is preferred, even if it’s boiling outside. What’s it like in Nepal and what should you pack when you are visiting?
One thing is for sure: you will want to leave your hot pants at home. No one is going to say anything if you actually wear them, but you might get quite a bit of odd stares in the street, or maybe even a whistle or two from passing guys. You can live without those pants – glances in the street are pretty uncomfortable. Long pants/skirt/cropped pants and a T-shirt are perfectly fine for a stroll in Nepal. Wearing traditional Nepali clothing like kurti is also fine, though not really neccessary. You can see a lot of Nepali girls in casual western clothes. If you really have your heart set on wearing a traditional Nepali clothing, you got two options.
Option no. 1: ready-made kurtas and sarees. Be prepared for them to not fit perfectly and to pay a higher price. Good side is that you can buy them and wear them the same day. It’s quick and simple.
Option no. 2: stitching. You can have kurtas and sarees stitched at the tailors, however, that could take a bit of time (usually about 7-10 days). On the other hand, it would cots only a fraction of a price of the ready-made ones and would fit perfectly.
The choice is yours.
One thing I definitely have a hard time digesting is all the foreigners in hippie clothing. OK, if that’s your style and you usually wear it back home – go for it. But it seems like there is a huge number of people visiting Nepal and assuming that’s what Nepalis wear so they go and buy and wear this ragged clothes sold only in Thamel. It’s surely not what Nepalis wear, and if you want to fit in with your clothes, hippie is not the road you should take.
Going back to revealing clothes. If you go out in Kathmandu on a Friday night, you are bound to witness some Nepali girls in extremely skimpy attires. I urge you not to think this is the norm or OK in any way. These are exceptions, and to be quite honest with you, I have never heard people make polite comments about those girls. You don’t want to be one of them. Particularly not if you are planning to take a taxi home late at night. You can dress in style, but be respectful to Nepalis. Skimpy clothing makes them shy and uncomfortable.
My humble opinion is that you can wear whatever you like in Nepal, as long as it’s not too tight or revealing. Make it light, airy and comfortable. Unless you’ll be going for a party, leave your heels at home. Kathmandu streets are not tailored for walking in a pair of those. Guys are lucky as anything goes for them!